Hunter Higgerson had five RBI’s, including a three-run home run, to lead the Radford Highlanders over the VMI Keydets 6-1 in Big South baseball action Friday at Gray-Minor Stadium. The game was the Big South opener for both clubs.
The game was a tightly contested one until the Radford (10-8, 1-0 Big South) half of the eighth inning, when Alexander Lee had a one-out single. Taylor Edens came on in relief and induced a potential double-play grounder in the shortstop hole, but the ball was bobbled by Tanner Dofflemyer for an error to put two runners on. Higgerson was the next batter and he lofted a 3-2 pitch over the left field wall, just inside the foul pole, for his fourth home run of the season. The Keydets got a run in the bottom of the inning to account for the final margin.
“Radford executed well today and we failed to do some things,” said VMI head coach Marlin Ikenberry. “They did a good job on defense, but in the eighth, we failed to turn the double play and they took advantage with the home run to extend the lead.”
On the mound, the starters got the decisions as Reed Garrett dropped to 2-2 after giving up three runs, all earned, in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked three. Michael Boyle pitched into the eighth for RU, allowing only one run on five hits. He struck out five and did not walk a batter to go to 1-2 on the year.
Higgerson was the only RU player with multiple hits, while VMI (9-8, 0-1 Big South) saw Brandon Angus go 2 for 4 in the setback.
The Keydets had the game’s first threat, putting a runner at second with two out in the first, but Boyle struck out Red Dowdell to end the frame. VMI would not have another runner in scoring position until the eighth inning.
Radford, meanwhile, jumped ahead in the fourth. Josh Reavis led off with a single and Josh Gardiner followed with a walk. A fly ball then moved Reavis to third, but Garrett struck out Alexander Lee for the second out. On the first pitch to Zach Woolcock, Gardiner broke for second base and was caught in a rundown. Reavis then darted for the plate and scored the game’s first run on a delayed steal of home, giving the visitors a 1-0 lead. Higgerson would plate a run later in the inning to make it 2-0, RU.
The Highlanders got another run in the sixth, as Higgerson plated Patrick Marshall with a RBI single. Neither team would score again until RU broke the game open in the eighth.
The Keydets rallied in the bottom of the inning, as Eric Mayers led off with a single and Will Connerley followed with a pinch-hit single, knocking out Boyle. Cameron Walter greeted reliever Kyle Zurak with a hit, scoring Mayers to make it 6-1. James Woods came in for Radford, and one out later, Jordan Tarsovich was hit by a pitch to load the bases. David Geary then struck out, however, and Angus grounded out to end the inning and the final VMI threat.